Construction of the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable pushed the limits of 19th Century technology. In the 1860s construction was begun on an alternative telegraph line to Europe - across Alaska, under the Bering Strait, and across Russia.
Capt. Daniel B. Libby was in charge of a telegraph construction team that wintered at Port Clarence on the Seward Peninsula in 1867. Libby was 25 or 26 at the time.
In March 1925 a roughly dressed man visited the Juneau law offices of James Wickersham. The man, Libby's son, needed money to get to Copper River where he understood he could find work as a welder. He had a packet of papers - his Dad's papers from the Port Clarence days: letters, records, pictures, and a five by seven inch brown notebook with a diary for 1867. Was Wickersham interested?
Apparently Wickersham was; the diary was in the Wickersham papers for many years, and is in the Alaska State Historical Library today.
On June 20 1867, Libby had taken a trip to King Island. The telegraph construction team that had spent the winter in Port Clarence was beginning to run low on food. The trip to King Island was evidently part of a larger effort to find food: